Author Archive | Matt Shanahan

The Link Between Customer Success and CFO Happiness: It’s All About Gross Margin

If you’re a CFO of a SaaS business, one of your biggest challenges is gross margin. As we all know, gross margin is essentially the difference between the revenue for a subscription and the cost of fulfilling that subscription—and with the software industry’s seismic shift from an on-premises model to a SaaS model, we’ve watched gross margins go from about 99% to more like 70 to 80%. That’s a big change. Unlike the old on-premises model, the SaaS model now has operations, customer service, and other functions to include in the gross margin equation. A SaaS company needs to fulfill on the terms of subscriptions, and that entails both “assets” (e.g., computers, bandwidth, operations) and “services” (e.g., on-boarding, adoption, retention). The good news? […]

Customer Success + Exception Management = Revenue and Profit

There are many reasons to have a “standard” process for customer on-boarding, adoption, renewal, and the other phases of the customer lifecycle. But the truth is that every customer and user is unique—and if you’re only following a standardized process, you’re leaving revenue and profit on the table. The best approach is to define a standardized process for these phases, but then to proactively monitor and manage exceptions. What is exception management? It is the process of identifying predictive triggers that signal when a customer is off-track from a successful customer journey and then proactively engaging that customer to bring them back on track. We’ve seen with our own customers how managing exceptions can have a direct, measurable impact on revenue and […]

The Data Behind Adoption and Retention in the Customer Journey

In the last research alert, we talked about the “90/10 Rule of Adoption.” That was an observation based on our own real-world data which shows that after 90 days, a non-loyal user has only a ten percent chance of becoming a loyal user. Like the time-honored 80/20 rule, our 90/10 rule is meant as a guide for setting priorities—and the key takeaway is that adoption is critical to the customer journey. The 90/10 rule of adoption encourages companies to better understand the dynamics of customer adoption, because adoption is often highly correlated with customer retention and renewal revenue. This correlation between adoption and retention makes intuitive sense: Customers only want to pay for what they actually use, so if adoption […]

The 90/10 Rule of Adoption and Customer Success

Consider the first ninety days of a customer’s subscription. How much customer success can you predict based on that period? How much renewal risk gets created? More than you might think, as it turns out. In the subscription economy, renewal revenues are driven by customer usage. For example, if a customer overestimated their needs initially and purchased too many users (or some other measure of use), they’ll want to course correct at renewal time and get in line with their actual historic use. So why are the first ninety days so critical to customer success and renewal revenues? The answer is simple: user adoption equates to higher renewal revenues, and most loyal users are created in the first ninety days. […]